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USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs. M2Tech hiFace - Page 71  

post #1051 of 1712
Thanks slim.a - forgot to put that link in
post #1052 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
That's why you are using the HiFace for asynch USB, I guess
All sources into the Pace-Car sound identical coming out. I previously had async with Tascam US-144, so this is not new. This is just nice to be able to integrate a USB interface and get 192.

Steve N.
post #1053 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr View Post
All sources into the Pace-Car sound identical coming out. I previously had async with Tascam US-144, so this is not new. This is just nice to be able to integrate a USB interface and get 192.

Steve N.
Yes, but I guess you could have chosen another 24/192 USB front-end - why did you go for the hiface?
post #1054 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Interesting thing about this discussion is that typically in a DAC the reciever has a PLL that virtually eliminates Jitter above a certain frequency. So the difference between the Hiface & TerralinX 's bass is a true support that Jitter matters. Still not sure which of the two has better bass based on the descriptions (grados like warm bass). Also would be interesting to know how battery or bench PS clocks on the Hiface affects the bass. This thread is really getting cutting edge with the open honest impressions being shared. I am really commend you all by keeping this thread away from the confromtational/defensive spiral that a lot of these turn into.
Interestingly, the bass quality of the HiFace actually got worse after burn-in, believe or not. I know things change from burn-in, but this is an important reminder that burn-in doesn't always produce improvements.

Anyways, the bass of the HiFace increased in quantity and treble descreased as well over time. I still think the soundstage is compressed and dry compared to the other transports (except direct USB, which is by far the worst in this regard). The hiFace and the USB input have the best imaging though, pin-point and without smearing.
post #1055 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Interestingly, the bass quality of the HiFace actually got worse after burn-in, believe or not. I know things change from burn-in, but this is an important reminder that burn-in doesn't always produce improvements.

Anyways, the bass of the HiFace increased in quantity and treble descreased as well over time. I still think the soundstage is compressed and dry compared to the other transports (except direct USB, which is by far the worst in this regard). The hiFace and the USB input have the best imaging though, pin-point and without smearing.
Hi Shahrose

Could you go into a little more detail, I don't understand what you mean and I don't know what you mean by "direct USB". What other transports were you talking about? Are you saying that the HiFace has a compressed sound stage after burn in??

USG
post #1056 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Interestingly, the bass quality of the HiFace actually got worse after burn-in, believe or not. I know things change from burn-in, but this is an important reminder that burn-in doesn't always produce improvements.

Anyways, the bass of the HiFace increased in quantity and treble descreased as well over time. I still think the soundstage is compressed and dry compared to the other transports (except direct USB, which is by far the worst in this regard). The hiFace and the USB input have the best imaging though, pin-point and without smearing.
Shahrose,

I am again very surprised by the way you describe the Hiface. I have read many impressions here on head-fi and even professional reviews, and none of them is describing it like you do ...

As far as I know the Hiface measures better than the LynxTwo professional soundcard which is a reference class sound card used by sound enginners. It also measures better than many usb to spdif converters and CD players.
From different reviews, it is said to be better than most usb to spdif converters, Esi Julia,Squeezbox, Logitech Transporter, Denon CD players, Cambridge CD players, ...
So either from an enginnering point of view (async+low jitter clocks) or from a listening point of view, most clues seem to point to a different sound than you are describing.

I am not doubting your listening skills but there are maybe other reasons why you hear that sound with the hiface:
1. Did you try it with different DACs?
2. Did you try different computers?
3. Did you try different USB ports?

As for the "dry" and "compressed" soundstage that you described, did you try it with different recordings including classical/hi rez recordings that contain spatial clues?
I remember that when I first got the hiface, I thought that the Teralink X1 had bigger soundstage. After playing a few tracks and some high quality classical music, it became apparent that the Hiface had a more accurate and better defined soundstage. On some tracks, the soundstage was smaller than the Teralink X, on others (live music), it was bigger. It was more faithfull overall.
In comparison, the Teralink X seemed to have a big soundstage on all recordings but that soundstage was fuzzy and less defined.

Under my test conditions (different DACs, different computers, different digital cables, different usb ports, ...), here is what I have found so far:
emu 0404 usb : dryest
Musiland Monitor: neutral, slightly on the dy side
Hiface: neutral
Teralink-X: warm sounding with stock drivers, dryer with ploytec drivers
Purepiper usb to spdif: warm souding.

I have yet to try the Teralink X2 that I should receive this week. But honestly, I bought it just to have a good 24/96 replacement unit in case something goes wrong with the hiface.

As I mentioned earlier, with a neutral and well designed DAC (multibit DAC chip and discrete output stage) the Hiface can just take you to audio nirvana. With a sigma delta DAC using opamps, the results are less predictable, as other (more jittery) transports might mask (or emphasize) certain distortions present on the dac.

It would be nice if you could try the hiface with different DACs or at least try it with different digital filtering settings on your DAC. It could be also beneficial to try it with high rez material as you would be less listening to the quality of the recording and digital filtering of your DAC and more to the hiface.
post #1057 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post

It seems that the official reseller in Canada is mutine.com. Apparently, you have to order by e-mail.
Thanks. Missed that email part because I was using firefox which made that site pretty much unbrowsable...

Just emailed them inquiring about the order. Hopefully they got some in stock. When I get it I'll probably compare it to the coax out on uDAC to see what the differences are between the two units.
post #1058 of 1712
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
Hi Shahrose

Could you go into a little more detail, I don't understand what you mean and I don't know what you mean by "direct USB". What other transports were you talking about? Are you saying that the HiFace has a compressed sound stage after burn in??

USG
Just realize that all the differences we're discussing are subtle...nothing earth-shattering. It's tedious to always type that out in every message, so take that as a given.

The HiFace always had a compressed soundstage compared to the other transports (Teralink-X2, and my desktop motherboard coax output), burn-in did not change that. The only thing worse was the direct USB input of the y2 DAC (plugging the DAC straight into a USB port into the desktop). I think the upfront/in-your-face treble and sharp imaging of the hiFace (the latter being a good thing) produce this effect.

I don't want to be repeating all that I've previously said so search within this thread. I posted detailed impressions of what I think of the HiFace a few pages back somewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Shahrose,

I am again very surprised by the way you describe the Hiface. I have read many impressions here on head-fi and even professional reviews, and none of them is describing it like you do ...
Ah professional reviews. You gotta love them, always curiously glowing and positive... I don't care much for such reviews. I report what I'm hearing and I don't allow others to influence me. This happens way too much here in FOTM threads and everyone ends up agreeing with each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
I am not doubting your listening skills but there are maybe other reasons why you hear that sound with the hiface:
1. Did you try it with different DACs?
2. Did you try different computers?
3. Did you try different USB ports?
1. Not yet. But that doesn't explain why other transports can create a stunning soundstage whereas the hiFace is falling short in a few areas.

2. Yes, I tried it on my laptop as well on battery power.

3. Yes, both on my desktop and laptop, both of which are not lacking in any way. Desktop details are in my profile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
As for the "dry" and "compressed" soundstage that you described, did you try it with different recordings including classical/hi rez recordings that contain spatial clues?
In comparison, the Teralink X seemed to have a big soundstage on all recordings but that soundstage was fuzzy and less defined.

Under my test conditions (different DACs, different computers, different digital cables, different usb ports, ...), here is what I have found so far:
emu 0404 usb : dryest
Musiland Monitor: neutral, slightly on the dy side
Hiface: neutral
Teralink-X: warm sounding with stock drivers, dryer with ploytec drivers
Purepiper usb to spdif: warm souding.
Your findings mostly agree with mine. I don't think the HiFace isn't neutral. It's just lacking the last touch of liquidity/wetness that gives a nice large soundstage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
As I mentioned earlier, with a neutral and well designed DAC (multibit DAC chip and discrete output stage) the Hiface can just take you to audio nirvana. With a sigma delta DAC using opamps, the results are less predictable, as other (more jittery) transports might mask (or emphasize) certain distortions present on the dac.

It would be nice if you could try the hiface with different DACs or at least try it with different digital filtering settings on your DAC. It could be also beneficial to try it with high rez material as you would be less listening to the quality of the recording and digital filtering of your DAC and more to the hiface.
I have 3 digital filters on my DAC and they hardly make a difference to the overall sound of the HiFace tbh.

I don't think it's wise to blame equipment you haven't heard. The DAC I'm using is very respectable and has been compared to other great offerings here in the $1000-1500 range favourably. Also, it sounds amazing with some other transports. Although, I do not contend the possibility of the hiFace not mating well with the DAC in terms of synergy as well as the other transports.

Lastly, I still think the hiFace is the best in some areas (re my previous report) but I do not think it's perfect.
post #1059 of 1712

Short review Teralink X2 vs. Hiface

Hi all,

I want to let you participate on my little review Hiface vs. Teralink X2.

I'm using the Teralink X2 since few weeks and I am really satisfied with the sonic result of this interface - especially after installing the Tenor Asio Driver. In the same time I was engaged in the theme reclocking, that means to find a possibility to "de-jitter" the signal before it goes to the DAC. I tried the Behringer Ultramatch and the Mutec M-7, which can do this. But both didn't show any difference in the result.
So I remembered, that the Hiface works in asynchronous mode, which also means the function of effectively reducing jitter. I was very curious about the question whether the Hiface could make a sonic difference in comparison to the Teralink X2 - and so I bought one.

After listening and comparing seven days it's time now to write down my impressions. Some notes to the setup: The SPDIF-Cable was the same on both interfaces. It was a very cheap cable of about 10 ,- €; yes I know there are some improvements possible on this part of the chain... . The Hiface was/is not directly connected to my Netbook but via a (also cheap) USB-Cable of 4m. Now my impressions:

1. There is definetly an improvement using the Hiface.
2. The difference is not big; it appears after a while of listening.
3. The bass range is more textured and well defined. Especially listening to music with church organ or doublebass shows more resolution. The overview remains.
4. The space impression is more precisely. The Teralink has a wide stage but not so well defined as the Hiface which let you better know where the instruments are positioned in width and depth.
5. In orchestral works with complex and dense structure of melodies, I can better follow the several lines of melody with the Hiface. With the Teralink it happens more that I lose track of the complexity of sound.
6. While I was testing I forgot sometimes my task changing between both interfaces and then I spontaneously stuck to the Hiface - it's no technical aspect but more emotional - and therefore nevertheless not unimportant.

So I can say, that Hiface does the job of reclocking / reducing jitter in an efficient and audible way.

So far my short review. Since my english is not as good as it could/should be I hope it is nevertheless good enough to understand my impressions. If you have questions or want more details please ask.

Regards
Fujak

P.S.: @slim.a: I hope that I don't influence your test/comparison of both Interfaces
post #1060 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
The HiFace always had a compressed soundstage compared to the other transports (Teralink-X2, and my desktop motherboard coax output), burn-in did not change that. The only thing worse was the direct USB input of the y2 DAC (plugging the DAC straight into a USB port into the desktop). I think the upfront/in-your-face treble and sharp imaging of the hiFace (the latter being a good thing) produce this effect.
Again, as I mentioned earlier, you are probably describing the intrinsic sonic signature of your DAC. The Hiface has a much much lower measurable jitter than the other transports you are quoting.
I have had very jittery devices and cables that are more laid back and have a bigger soundstage than the hiface+oyaide on specific recording.

I suggest you specify that the hiface+y2 DAC combination that have a compressed soundstage and not the hiface alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Ah professional reviews. You gotta love them, always curiously glowing and positive... I don't care much for such reviews. I report what I'm hearing and I don't allow others to influence me. This happens way too much here in FOTM threads and everyone ends up agreeing with each other.
I also don't take for granted what is said by professional reviews. However when the majority of people (whether head-fiers or professional reviewers) find it great sounding and when measurements show that it is better than other usb converters and even professional PCI cards, then you should start questioning an isolated case where a person who tested the hiface only on one DAC finds it compressed relative to the coaxial output of the motherboard of his/her PC. No offense, but the culprit seems to be the specific combination with your DAC and something that can be generalized for the hiface.

It is nice to share impressions with people. However, when you repeat many times that the hiface has a compressed soundstage and lack liquidity, you should mention that you have tested with only one DAC (even if you think it is great).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
I have 3 digital filters on my DAC and they hardly make a difference to the overall sound of the HiFace tbh.

I don't think it's wise to blame equipment you haven't heard. The DAC I'm using is very respectable and has been compared to other great offerings here in the $1000-1500 range favourably. Also, it sounds amazing with some other transports. Although, I do not contend the possibility of the hiFace not mating well with the DAC in terms of synergy as well as the other transports.

Lastly, I still think the hiFace is the best in some areas (re my previous report) but I do not think it's perfect.
Well, if you can't hear differences between the different digital filters, it simply means that the analog section of the DAC is not revealing enough.
While I am not saying that your DAC is poorly built, but I do not consider it as a reference class DAC. It is based on a sigma delta dac chip and uses opamps. Of course, it could better than many similarily priced but I really urge you to listen to a proper DAC that uses a multibit dac chap and a discrete output stage. You will be amazed with the difference.

To be clear, I am not saying the hiface is perfect. However, I have to disagree with you when you say that the hiface has a compressed soundstage in comparison with an adaptive usb converter or a motherboard coax output. It simply defy logic, measurement and what many people have heard.
post #1061 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fujak View Post
Hi all,

I want to let you participate on my little review Hiface vs. Teralink X2.

I'm using the Teralink X2 since few weeks and I am really satisfied with the sonic result of this interface - especially after installing the Tenor Asio Driver. In the same time I was engaged in the theme reclocking, that means to find a possibility to "de-jitter" the signal before it goes to the DAC. I tried the Behringer Ultramatch and the Mutec M-7, which can do this. But both didn't show any difference in the result.
So I remembered, that the Hiface works in asynchronous mode, which also means the function of effectively reducing jitter. I was very curious about the question whether the Hiface could make a sonic difference in comparison to the Teralink X2 - and so I bought one.

After listening and comparing seven days it's time now to write down my impressions. Some notes to the setup: The SPDIF-Cable was the same on both interfaces. It was a very cheap cable of about 10 ,- €; yes I know there are some improvements possible on this part of the chain... . The Hiface was/is not directly connected to my Netbook but via a (also cheap) USB-Cable of 4m. Now my impressions:

1. There is definetly an improvement using the Hiface.
2. The difference is not big; it appears after a while of listening.
3. The bass range is more textured and well defined. Especially listening to music with church organ or doublebass shows more resolution. The overview remains.
4. The space impression is more precisely. The Teralink has a wide stage but not so well defined as the Hiface which let you better know where the instruments are positioned in width and depth.
5. In orchestral works with complex and dense structure of melodies, I can better follow the several lines of melody with the Hiface. With the Teralink it happens more that I lose track of the complexity of sound.
6. While I was testing I forgot sometimes my task changing between both interfaces and then I spontaneously stuck to the Hiface - it's no technical aspect but more emotional - and therefore nevertheless not unimportant.

So I can say, that Hiface does the job of reclocking / reducing jitter in an efficient and audible way.

So far my short review. Since my english is not as good as it could/should be I hope it is nevertheless good enough to understand my impressions. If you have questions or want more details please ask.

Regards
Fujak

P.S.: @slim.a: I hope that I don't influence your test/comparison of both Interfaces
Hi Fujak,

Thanks for your impressions. Don't worry, I won't get influenced by your test ... or at least I will try to do so.

As for point 6. that is exactly what happened to me when I was writing the review/comparison between usb converters, I would always loose track of time and end up listening to the hiface because the music just made more sense and flowed more easily with it. If you re-read my first post, you will see that I mentioned the same thing
post #1062 of 1712
In theory or practice, how do you guys think computer+usb interface compares to battery powered mp3 players that output spdif? I've got an iriver h120 that outputs optical spdif and it does some things better than plain computer usb or spdif with clean power and good cables.
post #1063 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
In theory or practice, how do you guys think computer+usb interface compares to battery powered mp3 players that output spdif? I've got an iriver h120 that outputs optical spdif and it does some things better than plain computer usb or spdif with clean power and good cables.
In theory you could make the battery powered mp3 better than a computer. Its performanc will still depend on the clocks (One or 2 clocks for different multiples), on the internal layout, on the transformer, ...
But overall, there are less things that can go wrong with battery powered mp3 player than with a PC...

... However, it seems that these new usb async converters are becoming more immune to the PC side. So a good async usb converter would allow you to do stuff such as software upsampling and playing hi rez files that wouldn't be possible with a regular mp3 player (such as the one you cited).
post #1064 of 1712
Slim, your habit of challenging anyone's opinion who disagrees with you, and assuming what other people's gear sounds like without hearing it is surprising. You are running out of things to blame, first it was the cables and now the DAC.

BTW, you are wrong about the filters. It happens that if the y2 DAC has an ASRC installed, the difference among filters becomes very subtle, it doesn't mean that the "analog section is not revealing enough" which you once again assume without hearing.
post #1065 of 1712
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Slim, your habit of challenging anyone's opinion who disagrees with you
It is not accurate to say that I challenge everyone who disagrees with me. I intervene when what some people say things that absolutely make no sense to me. I am not saying I can't be wrong, I have been wrong before and I will probably be wrong many times later. But I loudly state my opinion when what is being said doesn't make sense.

If you read the entire thread, you will see that there are a lot of people who came with strong convinctions (that were very different). Here is a small list from memory:
- the Musiland is much better than the hiface
- jitter is not audible
- all dacs sound the same
- all cables sound the same
- longer digital cables sound better than shorter ones
- shorter digital cables sound better than longer ones
- usb cables do not matter
- usb cables do matter
- bits are bits
- glass toslink are better than coaxial spdif
- coaxial cables are better than spdif
- all media players sound the same
- Foobar sounds best
- J river sounds best
- DIR9001 is the best way to get rid of jitter
- and so on...

If you analyze those claims, some of them are contradictory. You can't hear a difference between converters if jitter is inaudible. Foobar cannot sound thin and smoother at the same time, ...

So yes, I happen to disagree with some of those claims. But I am not the only one stating my mind. It just happened that I have posted more often than other people here simply because I started this thread.

I am sorry that you felt I "challenged" your opinion, but you have criticized many times a unit that measures well and that sounds good to many people (which is a rare thing in audio). I asked you many times to try it with a different DAC but you never cared to do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
and assuming what other people's gear sounds like without hearing it is surprising.
As for assuming what people's gear sound like, yes I happen to do that but so do most people (whether consciously or inconsciously). By applying logic and by studying the choice of components, one can have a pretty good idea of what unit might sound like.
I have listened to dozens of high end DACs/CD players based on sigma-delta chips and none of them sounded natural. Some were better than others but even $5000 DACs based on a sigma delta chip left me unimpressed.
On the other hand, the only DACs that sounded natural to me were based on the PCM1704uk multibit converters. If you do a little bit of research, you will see that the majority of $10,000+ DACs use R2R/multibit dac chips ... I wonder why. The same rule apply for opamp based buffer stages on a DAC.

So when your findings defy measurements as well as subjective listening by many others, I have to strongly disagree with you.
So we are left with 2 choices: either the measurements and the majority is right and what you are describing is specific to your system, or you are right and measurements and other people's opinions are wrong.
This is not like if we were comparing headphones where personal taste could play a role. We are in the digital domain (pre-analog conversion) and there is only one way to do it which is to lower jitter as much as possible.
If as a result of lowering jitter, we uncover something that wasn't there before, it is not the fault of the source but the dac.

There are different philosophies in designing high end DACs: NOS with Zanden, or heavy filtering/upsampling with DCS/Esoteric for example. But all of them would agree that having a low jitter source is essential to get the best sound from the DAC. Even Zanden offers a superclock upgrade module for their transport.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
You are running out of things to blame, first it was the cables and now the DAC.
I have never said that your former Belden cable was the origin of the compressed soundstage. In fact, if you read my review of the Oyaide that I wrote a while back ago, you will see that I describe the Belden as warmer and having a bigger (and more difuse) soundstage than the Oyaide. So to "cure" the problem you were already having with the Belden + Y2 DAC, I would have never suggested that you get the Oyaide to solve your problem. I remember asking you about your cable before I knew it was the Belden. So please get your facts straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
BTW, you are wrong about the filters. It happens that if the y2 DAC has an ASRC installed, the difference among filters becomes very subtle, it doesn't mean that the "analog section is not revealing enough" which you once again assume without hearing.
I don't believe I am wrong about the filter. The ASRC is put ahead of the filter, so you would still hear the effect of the digital filter. The ASRC upsamples to 96khz (according to the amb website) which still should make the digital filter settings audible.
On my former DAC, I could still clearly hear the differences between the PMD100 and DF1704 digital filters on 24/88 data (But I admit it was less audible than on 16/44).
So yes, by applying logic, if you don't hear the difference between a sharp roll-filter and a minimum phase filter, it is simply because the analog section is not fast/revealing enough.


On a more general observation, why did you go and buy the Oyaide digital cable and the Artisan Silver Cables that I just happened to have reviewed? If you don't agree with my findings on the hiface, why would you buy very expensive silver cables? Was it just to prove that I was wrong?
Below is what you posted 3 days ago on the Artisan silver cable thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
Here I was expecting to debunk the IC and coax cable myth but to these ears there's definitely a change in sound with my recent cable upgrades. The differences are subtle but they are in areas that matter, and in many of them. Good stuff.

That being said, I can't say I'd recommend these cables for the price. It was worth the cost for me, but I would understand those who would disagree. I maintain that one should upgrade their transport/DAC/amp/headphones before cables.
It seems that your intent behind buying the cables I recommended had initially more to do with "debunking the myth" than to improve your sound.


Overall, I am sorry that you don't like the way I communicate things. But my intent is to help a maximum of people to get a good sound from their PC as a source. So far, there are many people who have got good results with I have recommeded. By "challenging" your opinion, I am just trying to make people aware that your findings are an isolated case and should not be regarded as a general rule.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › USB to SPDIF converters shoot-out : EMU 0404 USB vs. Musiland Monitor 01 USD vs. Teralink-x vs. M2Tech hiFace